Smartphone photography 101

Camera photography is now the most popular form of photography. On Instagram, the most popular camera phone is the iPhone, and it has been that way for many years. If you have a camera on your phone, then there is no reason for you not to use. In fact, a lot of people use their cell phones to take pictures more often than they make phone calls.

There is a continuing discussion about the quality of images from a cellphone. The truth is, as long as you are using a camera with a small lens and small sensor you would be at a disadvantage when compared to the quality of images from a larger camera. However, there is a common thought which says that you can break the rules for DSLR and other large cameras because you are using a smaller camera. The established camera rules don’t usually apply for camera phones.

For beginning photographers, or for those who like to improve their cell phone shots, the following are a few things that you can do to improve your cell phone photography. It does not matter if you have a cracked iPhone, you can use these tips with any cellphone camera.

1. Street photography

This is the easiest thing that you can do to improve your picture taking skills. Take pictures on the street. This will give you practice in taking pictures. This will also allow you to enjoy taking shots. It also affords you a lot of different possible shots, compositions, subjects and lighting conditions. Just take the shot in the streets with the camera that you have. One problem with street photography is that you might not be able to see the image you are shooting due to the glare. Even if you fix the cell phone screen, this will remain as an issue. Don’t bother about the glare, just shoot the picture.

2. The flat world

Cellphone cameras are notorious for taking flat pictures. Everything is in focus, from the front to the rear. The importance of having objects in varying degrees of focus is to emphasize which one you want the eye to notice. To counter that, try to find subjects which are: flat with no depth; landscapes which are fairly far; or objects which take up the whole frame.

3. Lighting

Most cell phone cameras do not have flash. If you have a camera with flash, you have more options. If you do not have flash in your cellphone, you have to create the light. After all, photography is about capturing the light. Make use of light from windows, or from streetlights. If you need to, use reading lamps and point them towards your subject.

4. Rule of Thirds

Imagine your image divided into threes. Now place the focus of your picture, not at the center of the image, but one-third of the horizontal, and one-third of the vertical. Think of a tic-tac-toe board and place the person’s eye on the intersection of the lines. This will be a great improvement over having to always have centered images. You only need to be always conscious of the image. To simplify, keep the object of the picture slightly off-center at all times, and you should see the improvement in your images almost immediately.

5. Center of the Square

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule-of-thirds. If you have a square picture, and you have a large image, you will have it placed at the center of the square. You will always have that option. However, be very careful of doing this as it can create a boring space. Try to keep the images off-center most times, and then center it to break the monotony. One word of warning about this, if you have the object of the picture too close to the camera, there will be barreling. This means that the object will look fatter in the middle, much like how a barrel looks like. This is the absolute reason why you should use a selfie stick or a tripod when shooting selfies.

6. Framing

You can find squares, windows, circles everywhere, even in nature. Use these shapes as frames and place your object in the middle of the frame. The frame itself does not need to be centered, just that it helps the eye to focus on the object inside the frame. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it requires a lot of thought. However, by trying to be conscious of the shot, you will learn to make it a natural part of your shot selection.

7. Point to the focus

There are lines everywhere you look. In most cases, these are converging lines pointing to a vanishing point. Try to put the object of your image at the center of these lines. The lines can be curves, and the idea will also work just as well. Where the lines converge, the eye will follow. This will make people notice the object and reinforce the impact of the image.

8. Shades

Photography is about light, but if all you have is light, you will end up with a white image. Shades and shadows are interesting and try to experiment with it. You can have diagonal lines drawn from the shadow of a grill fence. The straight shadows of a grill fence will help to create a 3-dimensional image when it falls on curves or any other object with contours. The same is true with images of people beside windows.

9. Color Balance

This is an advanced topic and requires a histogram of the colors in your image. However, the basis of this is to be able to break the colors. Try to balance the colors in your picture. The only exception is if the image is naturally monochromatic. An example is when you shoot a picture of different colored houses or cars. Of course, you can also take pictures of the rear lights of cars at night, which would show a pattern of red colored streaks.

10. Camera Features

One of the best advice that any photographer should follow is to read the camera manual at least twice a year. Admittedly, a cellphone camera would be a dull read because there are not too many features. However, if you know your cellphone’s features, then you can use these features when you most need them. These include changing the intensity of the flash if you have one or changing the sensitivity of the sensor (also called the ISO value). As a general rule, Samsung phones have great cameras. If you need to fix your phone, the Samsung screen repair cost would still be cheaper than buying a new camera and ending up with a poor quality camera phone.

The secret to getting better at cellphone photography is to keep on practicing and reading the manual of features. When in doubt, take the shot. Who knows, it might turn out good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comment Should not be empty